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Might and Magic 10: Legacy review: One square at a time

The recent resurrection of the retro-style role-playing game is exciting for many reasons, particularly an increased variety of different, new games. But trying to create new "old-school" games has tensions of its own, notably having to balance old-fashioned RPG conventions – user-generated...

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Building a better role-playing game story

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. Getting story right in role-playing games is crucial. Even if narrative is not your primary motivator, it's a key...

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Why Defiance's 'fun now, depth later' is great for MMORPGs

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. I had my World of Warcraft year. In 2007, when 'The Burning Crusade' came out, the game clicked with me and it...

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Mars: War Logs brings the resistance back to RPGs

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. I probably wouldn't have noticed Mars: War Logs except for the PR email I received which included a line about...

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Total War: Arena's ongoing quest to reshape competitive strategy

Creative Assembly has a good thing going with its Total War franchise. For seven games now, it's been remarkable successful at combining real-time tactics and turn-based strategy, making money and consistently expanding its studio. Their next game, Rome 2: Total War, a sequel to the most beloved...

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Two new indie RPGs tackle the genre's history, but only one succeeds

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. If there's one thing that would improve the role-playing genre, it would be a stronger indie community. The...

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Grandia: How a forgotten JRPG solved the problem of repetitive combat

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which primarily focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. This week, however, Rowan focuses on a forgotten JRPG: Grandia. One of the core issues facing most...

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Remembering the life and legend of LucasArts

LucasArts has become one with the Force. The venerable studio and publisher was shuttered by owner Disney yesterday, halting production on its games, including Star Wars 1313. Though the amount of content coming from the studio had been drastically reduced over the last few years – well...

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Rome 2 looks to continue building Total War's empire

Showing off a strategy game like Total War: Rome 2 at a convention can't be easy. With only so much time to show off to the awaiting journalists, games have to rely on spectacle. Yet the greatness of Total War derives from longer play sessions. There, the series' two halves – tactical...

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Mass Effect 3's 'Citadel' DLC demonstrates the franchise's messy, wonderful soul

This is a weekly column from freelancer Rowan Kaiser, which focuses on "Western" role-playing games: their stories, their histories, their mechanics, their insanity, and their inanity. One of the reasons that the Mass Effect series has been one of the most-discussed franchises of the generation is...

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